The Explanation of Dreams


The original title of this fragmentary work is unknown. The title Tafsīr al-manāmāt (The explanation of dreams) that has been added to the first page of the surviving portion is a later addition and identifies the book as belonging to the rich genre of Islamic texts on dream interpretation. Drawing on Hellenistic and other pre-Islamic traditions, this genre of literature was well established by the ninth century, and includes such well-known works as Dustūr fī al-taʻbīr (Laws of dream interpretation) by Abu Ishaq al-Kirmani (flourished in the late eighth century). In the present manuscript, the first preserved chapter is chapter 3, which deals with visions of angels, prophets, learned men, and the Kaaba. The last fully preserved chapter, chapter 22, deals with visions of birds of prey. A comparison with comparable texts, such as al-Muntakhab fi taʻbīr al-manāmāt (Selections in the interpretation of dreams) by Abu Ali al-Khalili al-Dari (circa eighth century) suggests that the surviving portion of Tafsīr al-manāmāt constitutes about half of the original.

Last updated: September 29, 2017